We all love the sunshine, and with good reason! Not only does it allow us to get our shorts out and say ‘goodbye’ to those winter coats, but it is also our main source of vitamin D!
What is it?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which confusingly is actually a hormone, involved in maintaining our calcium levels. It exists as either vitamin D2, which comes from plant sources in our diet, or vitamin D3 which is formed from UV-B rays making contact with animal skin, including humans! So, in the sunshine, our bodies will naturally make vitamin D3.
Why do we need it?
Vitamin D, this sunshine vitamin, is an important factor in the regulation of calcium and phosphate levels in our bodies and therefore plays a role in maintaining healthy bones, teeth and even muscles!
Prolonged periods of low vitamin D can impact bone health. This can lead to a condition called osteomalacia, characterised by the softening of your bones. Approximately 20% of the UK population have low vitamin D status, partly due to the lack of sun in the winter months.
How much do we need?
The recommended daily amount of vitamin D is 5 micrograms.
It’s worth noting that the strength of the sun in the UK means our bodies can only make vitamin D between 11am-3pm from April-October, so going on that lunchtime walk is key. Although, if you plan to be out in the sunshine for a long period of time, make sure to use sun cream to ensure you don’t burn and protect your skin!
During Autumn and Winter, the sun light is not strong enough for our bodies to create vitamin D so we must rely on our diets. However, there are limited dietary sources of Vitamin D, therefore, the UK government advises that everyone takes a 10 microgram supplement of vitamin D in the Winter months to ensure adequate intake.
Where do we get dietary sources of vitamin D from?
Eggs, oily fish and red meat are all sources of vitamin D. For those following a vegan diet, try plant-based alternatives to milk, yoghurt and butter that are fortified with vitamin D, like Alpro Almond Unsweetened. To get your Vitamin D fix, make sure you check the packaging on your plant-based alternative to dairy before you buy!
Here at Vega, we add UV treated mushroom powder to our Vega Essentials Nutritional powder to ensure it is high in vitamin D. Why not try adding a scoop to your morning smoothie to increase both the protein and vitamin content, including a fabulous 50% of your daily recommendation of Vitamin D!
Enjoy as part of a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet.